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(CNN) – Security footage showing Baltimore Ravens star Ray Rice knocking his wife unconscious in an elevator existed, and the NFL knew it was out there, says TMZ executive producer and founder Harvey Levin.
"The real issue is why the heck didn't the NFL commissioner seek to get it," Levin said in an interview with CNN's "The Lead with Jake Tapper. TMZ is owned by CNN's parent company.
The league's commissioner Roger Goodell "is a very aggressive guy," says Levin. "When he conducts an investigation, he literally micromanages it. He will do all sorts of things to make sure punishment is meted out and it's aggressive."
But in the case of the Rice video, Goodell and the league took a different approach.
"What we're told, they said to the police, 'yeah, give us anything you got,' and just waited. If they happened to give him the video, great. If they didn't, great. They knew the video existed at the casino. They never went to the casino," said Levin.
The violent incident took place inside an elevator at the now closed Revel Hotel and Casino in Atlantic City, New Jersey, seven months ago. TMZ Sports posted the video Monday showing Rice and Palmer entering an elevator. Inside the elevator, Rice punches Palmer. Palmer lunges after Rice, and then Rice hits her again and she falls to the floor.
Previously, TMZ Sports had released hotel surveillance video of Rice dragging an unconscious Palmer out of the elevator.
The Baltimore Sun petitioned for the release of the elevator video under the Freedom of Information Act. But it was TMZ, who regularly pays for content, that ultimately secured the footage.
"When the casino closed, I think there were a lot of employees who just said, you know he, what we want to do the right thing. And ultimately we ended up getting this video because when you look at the video, clearly you see the NFL did not do the right thing," said Levin.
For more of our interview with TMZ's Harvey Levin, check out the video above.